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Slovenia is a country rich in nature – from soaring mountains to lush forests to craggy coastline to crystal-clear rivers, lakes and streams to the gently rolling hills of the countryside. The small country can be traversed in a single day making nature easily attainable on quick day trips from the architecturally stunning and centrally-located capital city of Ljubljana. In our travels, we have explored the varied landscapes of charming Slovenia, but the southeastern region of Bela Krajina had eluded us…that is, until we visited the Big Berry resort for our first experience glamping in Slovenia.
What is Glamping?
For those unfamiliar with the term ‘glamping’ it is a portmanteau of the words glamorous and camping. Glamping solves the problem for those who want to immerse themselves in nature without foregoing comforts of home – like a bed, electricity and on-suite bathrooms with running water.
The idea of luxurious camping isn’t a new phenomenon, but gained popularity in 2007. Since then, resorts have evolved from offering glamping tents to glamping huts to entire glamping villages. Some accommodations focus on romantic glamping, while others are more suitable for family glamping. The current hottest trend seems to be glamping with a private hot tub, which is exactly what you get glamping in Slovenia at Big Berry Primostek.
Glamping in Slovenia at the Big Berry Camp
The Big Berry resort is nestled between the Kolpa River and grassy cow pastures and corn fields in the town of Primostek in the Bela Krajina region of Slovenia. Their glamping cabins are situated under leafy trees along the bank of the river that marks the border between Slovenia and Croatia.
In addition to the glamping accommodations, which are slightly staggered in order to provide privacy, on the Big Berry property guests can also relax in tented loungers, stroll the herb gardens and easily access the river for a swim via multiple sets of stairs. (Although, during our autumn visit, it was unfortunately a bit too chilly to take a dip!) For those interested in old-school camping in Slovenia, Big Berry also has tent sites with electrical outlets…but we’re not sure how, once there, anyone could pass up the opportunity of glamping with a hot tub!
While luxury camping with a hot tub is certainly one of the highlights of the glamping huts at Big Berry Slovenia, it isn’t the only remarkable feature. The functional space of the pre-fab luxury pods ensured we felt comfortable from the moment we stepped through the doors. Decorated in pastels, the chic designed house had everything we needed and more: a cozy bedroom, spacious bathroom and open-plan kitchen/living room with a large flat-screen television. During the day, the rooms are naturally bright with light streaming through the sliding glass doors and windows, which open to the river and provide panoramic views of the pastures.
Big Berry Slovenia Partners
The posh lodging is just one way Big Berry spoils their guests. On our arrival, a basket of locally produced products awaited us in our kitchen. The basket was filled with edible goodies, as well as naturally-made shampoo and soap, provided by Big Berry partners.
Big Berry Slovenia is more than fancy camping pods with hot tubs…a lot more. While the unique sleeps take center stage, Big Berry has added a complimentary component to their resort: local partner experiences. The carefully selected partnerships and collaborations with Slovenian brands exponentially increase the value of a stay at Big Berry. As guests, we were invited to learn (and taste!) local products and meet the locals who are making them, enhancing our overall experience glamping in Slovenia by also getting to know the region of Bela Krajina.
In addition to the fabulous welcome basket, we visited (and feasted at!) several partner establishments during our stay – as well as enjoyed some on-site.
In 20 years, Berryshka has evolved from producing natural essential oils to adding a range of spirits, liqueurs and chocolates to their offerings. Intent on making only high-quality goods, they carefully select berries and use pure spring water from the forest. Big Berry arranged for us to tour the distillery and chocolatier, which ended in their shop where we sampled the product. We sipped their unique juniper brandy and fruit liqueurs, which paired fantastically with an array of chocolates (the chocolate truffles with blueberry liqueur were amazing!).
Bistro Marof in Novo Mesto
We dined at the upscale Bistro Marof for lunch on their spacious patio. Although the cuisine on the menu matches the classy ambiance, we were there on BURGERday! and couldn’t resist trying the gourmet burgers (for which we gave a solid two thumbs up!). We were delighted to find that the menu included craft beer from a local Novo Mesto brewer, Komunajzer, whose beers are all named after Yugoslavia’s revered leader, Josip Broz Tito.
After lunch, we strolled through the quaint town. Novo Mesto – which directly translates to New Town, although it was founded in the year 1365 – is located along the Krka riverbank in Lower Carniola. The historic town is the artistic center of the region, well-known for literature and music (which we were able to listen to as performers practiced for an upcoming event). The picturesque bell tower of the Novo Mesto Cathedral stands above the river on a hill.
We went to Domacija Sraif to learn about the region’s famously delicious Belokranjska Pogaca bread, which their baker, Sonya, is certified to bake and sell. The traditional round bread, which is etched like a checkerboard for easy-to-tear bite-size pieces, is topped with caraway and salt – and has been made using passed down recipes for generations.
We also learned that Sonya can not only bake, but she can cook! She treated us to an incredible home cooked meal, one that could rival an American Thanksgiving feast. The menu: fresh salad from the garden, warm Belokranjska Pogaca bread, a simple (but heavenly!) pasta side dish, sautéed mushrooms fresh-picked from the forest, and fall-off-the-bone pork ribs and chicken – complimented, of course, by homemade wine and finished with just-out-of-the-oven cookies. Need we say more?
Ekoloska Kmetija Totter
Before we went to Ekoloska Kmetija Totter, we were already familiar with the products. It is their dairy and meat products that fill the daily made-to-order breakfast baskets that were delivered to our porch each morning. The fresh yogurt, creamy cheese, salami and eggs (complimented by the items already provided in our Welcome Basket, like Ghee butter, juice, jam and honey…more on that in a minute!) were our favorite ingredients to create our first meal of the day in our in-house kitchen – so we were excited to see the farm and facilities where it was all produced.
When we arrived at Ekoloska Kmetija Totter, the family was sitting at a picnic table below the hay loft entertaining friends who had stopped by while in town. We were invited to join them for a glass (or two…or three!) of wine and nibbles. The people of Belo Krajina (and friends of Big Berry) are incredibly hospitable. After some laughs through language barriers, we set off to explore the farm. We disrupted the pigs from their nap, played with the goats and got up-close and personal with a cow – then toured the small, but efficient dairy-making and meat-drying facilities where their Bio-certified products are created.
Located at the main intersection in the small village of Podzemelj, Gostisce Veselic has a cozy, inviting atmosphere with a touch of sophisticated ambiance. We were welcomed to the restaurant by the witty and charming owner, who had prepared a delectable dinner paired with wine from the region. As the wine flowed, she presented a four-course meal including fresh garden salad, creamy mushroom soup, savory slow-cooked pork and traditional Slovenian gibanica cake.
Our meal stretched long into the night and when we left, we were satiated, a little tipsy and happy…which is what the name of the restaurant translates to in English.
The Pecaric family has a long history of producing oil, dating to pre-WWI when they manufactured walnut oil to light lamps. In 1990, they planted their own walnut orchard and upgraded the oil mill to create high quality, ecological oil. Today, at Oljarna Pecaric they make more than 22 oils – all cold pressed for the ultimate health benefits – and have won awards for their products.
We were welcomed into their tasting room, the top floor of an A-frame structure warmly decorated in natural wood. On the table was their entire range of oils and next to the table were posters explaining the various health advantages of cold-pressed oil consumption and other uses. Using cubed bread, the owner led us through a tasting. We dipped and sampled our way through their line of oils, quickly noting differences and flavors. Our taste buds kept us returning to their signature walnut oil – a fabulous nutty oil (we couldn’t resist buying a bottle to take home for salads and pasta!).
We have long loved – and applauded – the Slovenia craft beer revolution (something we were introduced to at the Pivo and Burger festival in Ljubljana) – so when we learned that there was a craft brewer in Bela Krajina, we were certain we weren’t leaving without a visit! Pivovarna Vizir produces a creative range of craft beers using all- natural ingredients.
We, unfortunately, were unable to take a proper tour (schedules just didn’t align) but we were able to make a stop at their location in Crnomelj on our way out of town to pick up a few bottles for take-away. We are especially fond of their IPAs, of which our favorites are Gringo IPA and Calvados Session IPA. Cheers…or na zdravje, as they say in Slovenia!
On-Site Partners at Big Berry Slovenia Glamping Resort
Not all Big Berry partners require a drive – some come to the Big Berry camp, allowing us to enjoy time at the tranquil, riverside property.
Zen Shiatsu Massage
Perhaps not traditional to the region, Big Berry partner, Chantelle, is trained in giving Zen Shiatsu massages – a Japanese pressure point massage – on-site. While she normally administers the massage in the outdoors, it was a bit too brisk during our autumn visit. Instead, she cleared a space on our living room floor where she placed her mats and blankets – as Zen Shiatsu massages are traditionally performed on the floor.
The unique massage is delivered using her fingers, hands, elbows and knees – and she worked over my entire body along energy pathways. Not intended to be a relaxing massage, but rather stimulate the body’s natural healing process and flexibility, she worked with me for two hours, at the end of which I felt incredible.
Visiting Chef – Gianluca Balin from Primavera Muggia Restaurant in Italy
On weekends, Big Berry hosts area chefs to create meals for the guests and staff at their outdoor kitchen on the main reception house patio that overlooks the river. While we were there, Chef Gianluca Balin who works at Primavera Muggia Restaurant in Muggia, Italy – just across the Slovenia border in the Istria region – prepared an amazing meal!
The late lunch that lingered into the evening was an exquisite affair featuring the best flavors of Istria combined with products from Big Berry partners. Each course was a highlight – including a salad of Istrian beef tongue, a creamy pasta with fresh truffles (one of our Istrian favorites!), slow roasted Istrian beef and a layered dessert served in a jar.
Welcome Basket at Big Berry Slovenia
The Welcome Basket was already in our room when we arrived at Big Berry gave us an introduction to some of the vendors we would visit – and a chance to sample the products of other local partners that we wouldn’t have the chance to meet face-to-face. (Big Berry has more than 30 partners! We would have had to extend our stay to meet them all!) Below are the products that were in our basket to sample, but that we didn’t get a chance to meet:
Soap and Shampoo by 4 Kids and Us
4 Kids and Us is dedicated to producing skin care and cosmetics that are completely natural and void of toxins. Soap and shampoo from their line of products was included in our basket. Their unique shampoo is solid (as opposed to typical liquid shampoo) and is made of bio-coconut oil and other essential oils.
Honey by Kmetija Zupnca
Is there anything sweeter than honey? Maybe only organic honey, which is exactly what eco-farm Kmetija Zupnca produces, along with meats, fruits, vegetables and cereals. We loved drizzling our salty pogaca bread with their honey for a little bit of sweetness!
Apple Juice by Kmetija Zupancic
At Kmetija Zupancic farm, homemade is their specialty. We got to sample their super yummy, all-organic apple juice, which tasted divine in the morning with breakfast.
Ghee Butter by Zlati Ghee
Often referred to as Golden Ghee, the cooked butter can be used for just about everything – from baking to body care. The tradition of cooking butter has long been used in Slovenia; Dusan and crew at Zlati Ghee are now manufacturing what women in the region have been creating for centuries. We used the unique-tasting and versatile Ghee as a spread on bread, for frying eggs and mixed in our pasta.
Jam by Voglar
An organic farm located in Novo Mesto, Voglar produces a line of bio-certified honey and jams. We tried – and loved! – the raspberry marmalade.
Regional Sights In Bela Krajina, Slovenia
While most of our sightseeing in Bela Krajina revolved around visiting Big Berry partners and gorging ourselves with culinary delights, we also saw some of the sights of the region.
Douglas DAKOTA DC-3 Plane
We had expectations of the Bela Krajina region – small towns, amazing nature and rural farms, among them. We did not, however, anticipate seeing a relic Douglas DC-3 plane parked in an open field. The plane was flown during WWII by Allied Forces to transport injured soldiers to hospitals in Italy.
Hospital Museum – Topolovec
During our visit to Sraif Bakery, we also visited a museum chronicling a typical house and medical instruments used in the mid-1940s.
Source of Krupa River
The source of the Krupa River flows from a karst spring below a 30-foot-high rock wall.
Our Top Tips For Glamping In Slovenia At Big Berry
Big Berry really does all the planning for you! You just need to be ready for a fun, relaxing, feasting, good time!
- Glamping in Slovenia means you will be outdoors and in nature! Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures and is a slim and lightweight budget camera).
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your vacation to Slovenia, travel protected with World Nomads.
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